Nanoencapsulation in biodegradable polymer nanospheres is expected to improve Delta9-THC’s profile.

Aphios received a phase 1 SBIR grant from NIDA to develop a nanotech formulation of Delta9-THC for marijuana addiction and unmet medical needs.

Delta9-THC alleviates marijuana withdrawal symptoms and has potential for treating marijuana dependence. The currently marketed formulation, synthetic Delta9-THC (Dronabinol), is dissolved in sesame seed oil and is commercially available as an oral capsule (Marinol).

Oral administration causes slow, variable Delta9-THC uptake, Aphios adds. Additionally, it also requires drug administration several times a day.

Delta9-THC is very hydrophobic and oxygen-sensitive, both factors that are challenges in making formulations that are orally bioavailable and stable, Aphios notes.

Aphios plans to utilize its SFS-CXP platform to produce pharmaceutical-grade Delta9-THC with a greater than 99% purity following cGMP. The firm’s patented polymer nanospheres nanotechnology platform (SFS-PNS) will then be used to encapsulate Delta9-THC in biodegradable polymer nanospheres.

Aphios expects nanoencapsulation in biodegradable polymer nanospheres will thus improve Delta9-THC’s stability, prolong circulation time, and enhance bioavailability. Alternatively, the formulation will be utilized to deliver Delta9-THC from a subcutaneously implanted depot.

Nanoencapsulation will protect Delta9-THC transport to the stomach and enhance its passage across the stomach lining of the gut, Aphios explains. Nanoencapsulation will also slow the release of Delta9-THC, controlling the amount of drug in the bloodstream and reducing the frequency of drug administration during the day.

“In addition to helping marijuana addicts overcome their addiction, the nanotech formulation of Delta9-THC will have applicability in several other chronic diseases such as cancer pain, AIDS wasting, emesis, cachexia, obesity, smoking cessation, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease,” according to Trevor P. Castor, Ph.D., the principal investigator for the project.

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